I am not a frequent visitor to the site of my e-pal Louise who occasionally comments here because, frankly, I am a bit of a moral coward. Her site is sometimes painful and upsetting to read. Louise, herself, suffers with that most elusive and sometimes destructive of disabilities, the ones that 'bend' the mind. It has always been a remarkable fact that people may experience an event together, taking in information through their senses, and yet still come out with different descriptions of what occurred - as any experienced police officer will tell you who has regularly interviewed witnesses. This 'normal' characteristic is made 'abnormal' when those concerned suffer with some sort of mental impairment which alters not only their view of individual events but also of their entire world view including, perhaps especially, their view of themselves inside this world.
In a recent post she describes the travails of Michael, an ex-soldier, mentally impaired to the point that he has fallen, or perhaps marched, through the cracks in society to end up as one of life's derelicts. Now confined to a mental hospital he refuses, like Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, to take his meds and nightly the staff are required to use "reasonable force" (ie, six big men!) to administer them. At this point one's sympathies are stretched to opposite poles, yes, one feels desperately sorry for Michael who is obviously a man with some considerable character but equally one cannot help but feel for the staff, too. They are not, I am sure, all the equivalent of the repellent Nurse Ratched in Ken Kesey's one-sided drama. People with disabling mental problems must be taken under care and control and those whose job it is to administer them must do what they think is necessary even if the state of knowledge of mental disorder is still in its infancy.
In other words, it's a 'no win' situation and I feel real anguish for the people concerned - on both sides of the meds! Thank goodness Louise is out of hospital and continues to fight her own lonely battle with some success judging by her excellent blog.